Tewkesbury (pronounced "tueks-bury" or sometimes locally as "chooks-bury") is a small market town in north Gloucestershire, approximately north of the city of Gloucester and north of Cheltenham. It is renowned for its medieval streetscape and large number of timber framed buildings.
The town is proud of its medieval heritage and summer visitors will notice the many banners that many of the shops and residences put up around the time of the town's medieval festival.
OrientationTewkesbury isn't a large town, however it's large enough to be split it into distinct areas.
High StreetThe High Street stretches from the roundabout with the war memorial to the Mythe bridge. Most of the town's notable shops are on this street.
Barton StreetBarton Street connects Church Street to the A438 and has the town's police station. There aren't as many businesses on this street.
Walton Cardiff/WheatpiecesWalton Cardiff is a mostly residential area built on flood plains south of the town. It has a small retail area with a Costcutter's convenience store, Tewkesbury Fryer fish & chips and Glory Garden Chinese takeaway.
NewtownNewtown is east of the town. It's mostly a residential strip with The Canterbury (a pub with a large weeping willow tree), the town's secondary school and a few businesses.
Northway/AshchurchMuch like Newtown, Northway is to the east of the town and is mostly residential. However it also home to the Northway Trading Estate, which provides much of the town's income.
By carTewkesbury is easily accessible from the M50, M5 and the A38, which is the main trunk road through the town. Visitors from South Wales should use the M50, and get off at Junction 1, following the A38 into Tewkesbury. Visitors from the North or South should use the M5 motorway and leave at Junction 9. Tewkesbury is approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the junction and is well signposted from here.
By trainTewkesbury is served by the Ashchurch for Tewkesbury railway station, which is approximately 2 miles to the east of the town centre. The station has connections to Cardiff, Malvern and Yate among others. Although the line is busy, not many trains stop.
The number 41 and 42 bus service (see link below - use Northway, Steward Rd as a guide to times.) provides a regular service between Ashchurch for Tewkesbury station and Tewkesbury town centre. The bus stop is located less than 200 metres from the station on Northway Lane.
Alternatively there are the Cheltenham Spa and Gloucester train stations nearby with connections to cities such as London Paddington, Birmingham New Street, Bristol and Cardiff.
By busBuses serve Tewkesbury from many neighbouring towns and cities.
There are regular services from Gloucester and Cheltenham and occasional services from Worcester.
71 – (Stagecoach): Gloucester → Twigworth → Norton → Coombe Hill → Walton Cardiff → Tewkesbury
41 – (Stagecoach): Cheltenham → Uckington → Tewkesbury (Gupshill Manor) → Tewkesbury (Roses Theatre) → Northway
42 – (Stagecoach): Cheltenham → Uckington → Walton Cardiff → Tewkesbury
Bus services also link Tewkesbury with Ledbury, Pershore, Evesham, Upton upon Severn and Hereford. Tewkesbury Bus Timetables
By boatTewkesbury is located at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon (Shakespeare's Avon), both of which are navigable. Overnight moorings are available at Tewkesbury Marina and along the banks of the Avon in the town at a cost of £3 per night for up to 48 hours.
Tewkesbury is a fairly small town and very flat, and is therefore best explored on foot. The tourist board have placed a lot of grey signs making it easy to find the location attractions. There are many cycle routes throughout the town, but no bicycle hire.
By carParking has been made more difficult in the town since the council extended the pavement on the High Street. The best free parking near the High Street is next to the Severn Ham, however it is often full especially on weekends.
If you don't mind paying there are plenty of pay and display car parks.
address: Gloucester Road, GL20 5SW
address: St Mary's Lane, GL20 5RU
phone: +44 1684 850959address: Church Street, GL20 5RZA truly beautiful building that can hold up its head in the same county as the fabulous Gloucester Cathedral. The Abbey boasts the largest Norman church tower in existence measuring 14 metres square and 45 metres high. The Abbey used to be walled and surrounded by monasterial buildings such as the cloisters, chapter house, library, dormitories, stables, kitchens and many more. If you have the time, it's worth booking a tour as the abbey has a lot of stories to tell.
phone: +44 1864 297174address: 41 Church Street, GL20 5SNHistoric museum dedicated to naturalist and writer John Moore; that is only a few hundred yards away from Tewkesbury Abbey.
The Merchant HouseAlso the home of a sister museum known as the Merchant House, which is designed to faithfully recreate a Tudor merchant's house as it would be in that period.
address: 63 Church St, GL20 5RZRenovated meeting house.
The Severn HamAn island to the west of the town created by the merging of the River Avon, Mill Avon and the River Severn. Best approached via Abbey Mill to appreciate some stunning medieval buildings. Walk along the Ham northwards towards the now disused Borough Mills (Healing Mills). Cross the Mill Avon via the footbridge to the town side of the Mill avon. Continue northwards appreciating the rear of the buildings. Cross the Avon Mill again at the mill. There are two bridges here: the flat one was for the railway. Continue northwards again, crossing the lock and finally to King Johns Bridge. This bridge was known until the nineteenth century as the long bridge. The causeway to the left as you climb the steps used to be marshy ground where the Avon flowed towards the Severn. Previously this was a simple wooden causeway. Although the stone bridge retains a mediaeval appearance, it has been much modified in recent centuries. When built it was probably only as wide as the pavement is now.
Mill AvonA man-made cut to supply the mills with water power. It isn't known when this cut was dug though it was certainly there before the monastery so could be a Saxon or even Roman.
Streetscape and architectureThe mediaeval street plan with its many alleyways, courtyards and small sidestreets is virtually unchanged from its original layout and a high proportion of fine half timbered buildings remain. Abbey terrace in Church Street is of particular note. The town is built around three main streets High Street, Barton Street and Church Street. The other roads such as Oldbury Road and East street are of lesser interest to the visitor interested in the architecture of the town having been created and built on only after the enclosure of the common land known as the Oldbury after 1860. It's also worth looking up as you walk along the main streets look up especially at the building roofs. Often the frontage is of a very different age to the roof indicating that the building was refronted to the latest fashion.
Join one of the guided tours to get the most out of your visit to Tewkesbury. Details available from the Tewkesbury Tourist Information Centre, Tewkesbury Museum and most hotels. Alternatively the official Visit Tewkesbury website has a page dedicated to walks in the area.
Bloody Meadowaddress: Lincoln Green Ln, GL20 5TUFollow the battle trail from the town to the location of the Battle of Tewkesbury during the War of The Roses in 1471. A map and guide to the battle is available from the Tewkesbury Tourist Information Centre.
The Severn WayThe longest riverside walk in the UK passes through Tewkesbury. Following the Severn Way as far as Deerhurst is a very pleasant riverside walk and you will be rewarded with the 10th-century St Mary's Priory Church and 11th-century Odda's Chapel. Allow 2–3 hours for a round trip.
St Mary's Priory Churchphone: +44 117 975 0700address: Deerhurst, GL19 5TT
phone: +44 370 333 1181address: Deerhurst, GL19 4BXAn Anglo-Saxon chapel built in 1056 by Earl Odda (related to the current king of the time, Edward the Confessor) to honour his fallen brother Aefric. The famous Odda Stone was replaced with a replica; the original can be found at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
Alley WalkA fascinating walk along the remaining alleyways of Tewkesbury. A map of the alley trail is available from the Tourist Information Centre.
Tewkesbury Town walkUnderstand Tewkesbury's location and the importance of it to Tewkesbury's development. Learn how the changes to transport and industry shaped the changes to the town. Includes an understanding of why the alleys came to be built and what it was like to live in them and finally why many of the alley cottages were pulled down in the 1960s.
Gloucestershire WayThis walk encompasses the best of the county of Gloucestershire. Starting in Chepstow, it follows a route through the Forest of Dean, Mayhill, Gloucester and the Cotswolds, ending in Tewkesbury.
Tewkesbury Medieval FestivalSaid to be Europe's largest battle re-enactment and fair, the Medieval festival recreates the famous Battle of Tewkesbury from 1471. There many tents which sell various merchandise including medieval weapons, jewellery, clothing and drinks such as mead. Held over 2 days in July.
phone: +44 1608 652662address: Tewkesbury Abbey Grounds, GL20 5PGLots of local produce, cooking demonstrations and a craft tent. Held adjacent to the Abbey in the Vineyards in May or June (23rd - 24th June 2018).
Tewkesbury Water FestivalCelebrating Tewkesbury's rivers with a procession of boats and fireworks.
Tewkesbury Mop FairOriginally held to help the local population find work and thought to date back as far as the 12th century, the mop fair is now a modern street fair with carnival rides and street performers. Held every October.
Tewkesbury's own Roses Theatre hosts many productions and also screens the occasional film. The theatre is perhaps best known for being the last venue for British comedian Eric Morecombe.
phone: +44 1684 295074address: Sun Street, GL20 5NXThe town's local theatre, it's run as a non-profit so a small donation is a pleasant courtesy. After the 2015 renovation, it also has a coffee shop Cotteswold Coffee and a concessions bar for drinks and ice-cream.
phone: +44 1684 299199address: 44 High Street, GL20 5BHA small traditional confectioner set in a small shop with a curved window that provides a large variety of sweets in a jar which are usually sold for £1 per 100 grams (3.5 oz) into a bag. They also stock many international delicacies and 15 flavours of ice-cream in the summer.
phone: +44 1684 291471address: 101 Church St, GL20 5ABNamed after the eponymous year of the Battle of Tewkesbury, this local delicatessen specialises in the local Tewkesbury mustard among other things.
phone: +44 1684 293337address: The Wheatsheaf, 132 High St, GL20 5JRSet in the remains of a former pub is an independent book shop selling a wide variety of 2nd hand books, both antique and modern. Particularly specialises in old Ordnance Survey maps. A list of their stock can be found on their AbesBooks page.
A market is also held in the Spring Gardens car park (just off Oldbury Road) every Wednesday and Saturday.
phone: +44 1608 652662address: Spring Gardens Car Park, Oldbury Road, GL20 5DNOpen-air market selling local crafts, meat, clothes and general bric-a-brac.
Occasionally the town hall hosts different market stalls selling local crafts and produce.
Town Hallphone: +44 1684 294639address: High St, GL20 5AL
The town has three supermarkets, a small Tesco Extra, an Aldi and a large Morrison's supermarket.
Tewkesbury mustardTewkesbury is home to its own type of mustard. It was even referenced as a simile in Shakespeare's Henry VI play “his wit's as thick as Tewkesbury Mustard”. Several shops sell this condiment including the Heritage Centre and the delicatessen AD1471. Geniune Tewkesbury Mustard still produces the mustard in the town.
BudgetTewkesbury has a few places for eating on a budget; including takeaways, kebab shops and cheap cafes.
Morrison's Cafephone: +44 1684 273261address: Ashchurch Rd, GL20 8ABPart of Morrison's supermarket, a cheap cafe.
Abbey Fryerphone: +44 1684 292365address: 69 Barton St, GL20 5PYA fish & chips takeaway.
Tewkesbury Fryerphone: +44 1684 290888address: 2 Columbine Rd, Walton Cardiff, GL20 7SPA fish & chips takeaway.
phone: +44 1684 292278address: Gloucester Road, GL20 5SGWonderful food in one of the older buildings in Tewkesbury. £10-15.
phone: +44 1684 292687address: 84-85 Church Street, GL20 5RXTraditional English restaurant.
Tewkesbury has many pubs. Some of them however were turned into shops, but a sign on the window or inside the store itself will inform passers by of the pub that used to stand there.
Tewkesbury's oldest and most famous pub Ye Olde Black Bear which reputedly dates back to 1308 fell into disrepair, was sold off and remains closed. Its counterpart The White Bear however remains open to customers. The residential area between them is appropriately named Twixtbears.
phone: +44 1684 274420address: 2 Clifford Avenue, Walton Cardiff, GL20 7RWGood selection of food and drink for those on a budget.
The Nottingham Armsphone: +44 1684 276346address: High St, GL20 5JUConsidered a good place for a pint and some food.
phone: +44 8456 086040address: 52 Mill St, GL20 5SBDirectly opposite Tewkesbury Abbey is a inn dating back to 1696. It offers decent food and drink along with a traditional wood fireplace in the winter. There is also a rumour that there is a secret underground passage connecting to to the abbey.
phone: +44 1684 278670address: 94 Church Street, GL20 5RSThe local JD Wetherspoons pub, serving food and drink. The building like much of Tewkesbury is medieval and timber-framed with an array of beams holding it together. The pub was also mentioned in the first Charles Dickens' novel The Pickwick Papers.
phone: +44 1684 296614address: Bredon Rd, GL20 5BUThe White Bear is the lesser known of the two bear pubs and is one of the town's remaining free houses. The pub has won the CAMRA awards for Pub of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year 2018.
phone: +44 1684 772321address: Bredons Hardwick, GL20 7EECaravan park with a small lake offering watersport activities such as windsurfing, canoeing and sailing.
phone: +44 1684 274039address: 94 Church St, GL20 5RSThe Royal Hope Pole is also a hotel.
phone: +44 8456 086040address: 52 Mill St, GL20 5SBDirectly opposite Tewkesbury Abbey is a inn dating back to 1696. It offers decent food and drink along with a traditional wood fireplace in the winter. There is also a rumour that there is a secret underground passage connecting it to the abbey.
phone: +44 1684 297755address: High Street, GL20 5BHA 3-star hotel and another good place to stop to drink and eat. The outside appearance is rather strange, the timberwork seeming to have little structural use and is in fact timber cladding added in the 1890s. Underneath though is a sixteenth-century building. The door into the secret garden retains the axemarks where soldiers tried to break in during the civil wars. There is a priest's hole in the Mayor's Parlour.
phone: +44 1684 272300address: Lincoln Green Lane, GL20 7DNFamily-run 3-star hotel with extensive golf course and spa facilities. Similar to Puckrup but within walking distance of the town centre.
phone: +44 1684 296200address: Puckrup, GL20 6ELSet on a golf course a couple of miles north of Tewkesbury.
phone: +44 1684 293086address: Sun St, GL20 5NXPublic library with free Wi-Fi and access to computers.
- Cheltenham – south of Tewkesbury. A historic spa town known for its festivals.
- Gloucester – south of Tewkesbury. County capital and known for its historic dockyards and cathedral.
- Worcester – north of Tewkesbury. Historic city, county capital of Worcestershire and home of the famous Worcestershire sauce.